Dear Filipinos in America: Wear your love for our adoptive country with a mask and save lives

HAPPY 4TH of July! Today, we celebrate the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, which we now call our home in our adoptive country.

As chronicled:

“The Fourth of July—also known as Independence Day or July 4th—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution.

On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence.

On July 4th, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence.”

The Declaration of Independence document outlined a list of grievances against the British crown, however, it has been the “preamble” that we probably know most about, which includes its most famous passage:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Former President Barack Obama said in an online roundtable in support of “Black Lives Matter” protests in June:

“Just remember this country was founded on protest. It is called the American Revolution and every step of progress in this country, every expansion of freedom, every expression of our deepest ideals has been won through efforts that made the status quo uncomfortable.

And then we should all be thankful for folks who are willing in a peaceful, disciplined way to be out there making a difference. There is a change in mindset that’s taking place, a greater recognition that we can do better. That’s a direct result of the activities and organizing, and mobilization and engagement, uh, on so many, uh, young people across the country who put themselves out on the line to make a difference.”

History indeed has illustrated how the American people have made all efforts to create “a more perfect union”, and each crisis demanded a collective response from the American people to surmount our challenges and come out better and stronger as a nation.

The Preamble of the U.S. Constitution states:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

THIS YEAR, we celebrate the Fourth of July holiday amid a very difficult and threatening period in our history as we, as well as the rest of the world, are facing a medical emergency from the coronary pandemic.

This year, we have started to live a “new normal” as we navigate this crisis, and we may be missing the usual festivities like fireworks, parades, concerts, even family gatherings and barbecues, because of the shelter-in-place and social distancing measures implemented by state government officials to help mitigate the spread of the virus and save lives.

This year, we need to come to terms with the fact that the invisible enemy we are all fighting can infect any of us regardless of our political stripes and colors, our religion, gender, race, etc. and the only thing we have control on is how we respond to the challenges and accept our own personal responsibility to help save our life and the lives of other people, especially the most vulnerable ones from COVID-19.

In honor of American Independence this year, this generation is called to live our pro-life values, our patriotism, and our respect and appreciation for those who are in the frontline in the war against the pandemic by doing one simple but effective life-saving thing:

WEAR A MASK. This should have never been a political issue. This is a medical emergency issue and should have never been politicized especially by the President of the United States.

WEAR A MASK. Wear a mask with pride and dignity and feel how this simple act will relay your love for God, for the country and other people. Conversely, other people will likewise look up to you with respect and appreciation. This, along with social distancing, personal hygiene, is our formidable arm in this war against the virus. This is an important effort we all can do toward creating “a more perfect union” during this challenge of our time.

As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated:

“Cloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control.

This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.

COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.”

WEAR A MASK. The life you save may be your own or the lives of your loved ones. We can make a difference. We can do this. We can do this together. We are all in this together!

* * *

Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989 with ABS-CBN and is now serving the Filipino audience using different platforms, including digital broadcasting, and print, and is working on a new public service program for the community. You may contact her through email at, or send her a message via Facebook at

Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to and

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